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The Four Most Important Documents for Estate Planning

Regardless of your age or financial status, you should have an estate plan to protect yourself, your family and your assets while you are still alive and after your death.


How to Replace Vital Documents

Fortunately, you can replace most important personal records. Use these links as a starting point.

How Long to Keep Documents

Most people hold onto boxes full of financial documents, tax returns and pay stubs they no longer need. And they don't always keep the records they do need.

Here are guidelines on what documents you need to keep, and for how long.

Where and How to Store Personal Documents

You should carefully consider your options when it comes to deciding how to store personal documents and records.  You must always balance two factors: security versus ease of access in an emergency.  Both are important, but often people privilege security over ease of access - which can cause major problems when a document is needed immediately. 

Emergency Binder for Important Documents

Just because you're a good record-keeper doesn't mean you're a good safe-keeper of documents. For example, maybe you file papers into folders and lock them in a cabinet.

Estate Planning Checklist to Get Your Estate in Order

One of the greatest gifts you can leave your loved ones is an organized estate. The time you spend now will help your loved ones to cope later, and also will ensure your wishes will be carried out. Here is a simplified checklist to help you get started on organizing your estate.
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Printable Financial Organizer Templates

The following are printable financial organizer templates on Excel which can be downloaded free from Microsoft's site.

Essential Documents for Seniors with Dementia

It is essential to draw up advance-planning documents while you still have the decision-making capacity to do so. These documents can help ensure that all your financial and medical wishes are carried out, which is especially important with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.  If you don't have the appropriate documents, a court can appoint a guardian for you.

How Long to Keep Records

The following guidelines will assist you in determining what records you should keep and how long to keep records.

Must Have Documents for Every Adult

In addition to a will, there are four additional must-have legal documents that all adults should have:

Basic Emergency Binder

Too often, we allow the busyness of everyday life to postpone preparing for life’s most unexpected—and significant—events, which can include accidents, emergency hospitalizations, or worse.

How Long to Keep Tax Records

The length of time you should keep a tax document depends on the action, expense, or event the document records. Generally, you must keep your records that support an item of income or deductions on a tax return until the period of limitations for that return runs out.
 

The 3 Most Important Documents Every Parent Should Have for Their 18 Year Old Child

Did you know that once your child turns 18, your legal rights as a parent end?
Legally, you do not have the right to look at their grades or talk to their doctors if there is a medical issue.